Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?
I’ve got a question for you.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Brilliant question. Let’s find out why.
Historically, the chicken crossed the road to get to the other side. Has anybody ever laughed at that joke? Why has it become so famous? And, for that matter, who cares?
Why would you want to investigate why things are funny?
As E.B. White said “analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog – few people are
interested, and the frog dies.”
But I want to dive into the guts of this chicken joke because today it is so famous, it is practically shorthand for comedy. And people frequently consider it either the worst joke of all time or the oldest joke.
But neither of those is true, first things first. The chicken joke isn’t technically even a joke. It’s an “anti-joke”
It’s a joke about jokes. You see, we expecta joke to surprise us, to flip things around
or use word play. But to get to the other side is just obvious, it’s mundane, which,
by itself, can be pretty funny. To make thismore clear, let’s take a look at anti-joke
“What’s blue and smells like red paint?
Thinking hard?, well the answer’s Blue paint.
You see, you expect a typical joke-y punch line, but instead what you get is hilariously serious. Anti-Joke.
Cat is another good one.”
Anti-jokes can also be used for psychological experiments right at home.
You may have heard of this one already, the “no soap, radio” joke.
Here’s how it works.
Get a couple of your friends together and tell them to all laugh when you’re done telling the joke, no matter what. Then, go find a target who’s not in on it and tell them some version of a joke like this:
|Two polar bears
were sitting in a bathtub. The first one says
“pass the soap”
The second one says |
“no soap,…… radio.”
At this point, you and your friends should start laughing uproariously, meaning the target has one of two choices- either be afraid of looking dumb and laugh along anyway or say they’re confused, at whichpoint you should tell them
“what, you don’t get it?” and keep laughing.
You wait until the target gives into peer pressure and succumbs to mob mentality and joins, despite the fact that “”no soap, radio” is actually nonsense.
Back to the question, All i’m sure of is that our proverbial chicken did not have Agyrophobia. That’s the fear of crossing streets. But maybe the chicken should have.
I mean, crossing the road could be quite dangerous for a little bird, which leads us to a quite darker interpretation of the joke.
Maybe this chicken knew of the danger of crossing the road. Maybe he knew what could happen. Maybe he was sad or lonely or knew what his fate was. And so he decided to take control and end it himself, and crossed the road to get to the other side of it’s life (death).
If you want to continue being morbid, check out DeathClock.com. Answer a few questions and the site will generate a countdown of the number of seconds you likely have left to live.
You can just sit there and watch them tick away,.
But let’s get back to the joke. chicken cross the road
The real question should be; “why wouldn’t chickens be crossing the road?”
I mean, to be sure, the Earth is a big place and less than 1 percent of it is even paved, but there are quite a few chickens on Earth.
But there are many different motivations a chicken could have for going to the other side. Maybe it was looking for food, maybe it was being chased by a predator. What matters
though is that we can never know because there is no chicken. It’s purely hypothetical.
We have actual documentation of those real people and events, but this chicken never even really existed. So, asking why the chicken crossed the road is just like asking why did the original writer decide that it should be a chicken crossing a road?
Which means that the chicken crossed the road because some comedian in the 19th century decided that you would probably think about it too much, making the mundane “to get to the other side” answer quite surprising.
Unfortunately, our poor chicken friend doesn’t illicit that response from us anymore because we’ve all heard the joke. We know what to expect when the joke begins. But we should be proud of our chicken friend and the unknown author who thought him up, because even though the joke is so famous it’s no longer funny, even at a neurological level, it still stands as a testament to just how complicated and
clever our comedy can be.
Why did the Chicken Cross the Road? Here are some other answers all around the web for this very question.
TIMOTHY LEARY: Because that’s the only trip the establishment would let it take.
SADDAM HUSSEIN: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.
JACK NICHOLSON: ‘cause it f…..g wanted to. That’s the f…..g reason.
CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.
HIPPOCRATES: Because of an excess of phlegm in its pancreas.
ARTHUR ANDERSEN CONSULTANT: Deregulation of the chicken’s side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. Andersen Consulting, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM), Andersen helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital and experiences to align the chicken’s people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. Andersen Consulting convened a diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with Anderson consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park-like setting, enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear,and unified market message and aligned with the chicken’s mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. Andersen Consulting helped the chicken change to become more successful.
LOUIS FARRAKHAN: The road, you see, represents the black man. The chicken ‘crossed’ the black man in order to trample him and keep him down.
FOX MULDER: You saw it cross the road with your own eyes. How many more chickens have to cross the road before you believe it. RICHARD M. NIXON: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did NOT cross the road.
FREUD: The fact that you are at all concerned that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.
BILL GATES: I have just released the new Chicken Office 2000, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook.
OLIVER STONE: The question is not, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” Rather, it is, “Who was crossing the road at the same time, whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?”
EINSTEIN: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road moved beneath the chicken depends upon your frame of reference. ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die. In the rain.
COLONEL SANDERS: I missed